The scary, unrelenting fame of 2023 Taylor Swift.

Look. The money would be nice. So would the Rhode Island holiday home. And the cats are pretty bloody cute.

But being Taylor Swift right now is probably not as fun as the hundreds of millions of dollars, the accolades and the excited stadiums full of people would have you believe.

Because all of that also comes with this truly disturbing trilogy: being swarmed by a crowd at a wedding in New Jersey, having a man who claims he wants to marry you gain entry to your NYC apartment building, and watching an impersonator hire fake security guards and pretend to be you, revelling in the furore like it is a novelty, in LA.

You have may already seen the viral images of the New Jersey crowd. 

On Friday, Swift, along with other celebrities including Lana Del Rey, Zoe Kravitz, Channing Tatum and Andie MacDowell, attended the wedding rehearsal dinner of MacDowell's daughter, actor Margaret Qualley, and music producer and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff.

The occasion, on a coastal holiday town on New Jersey's Long Beach Island, got out of hand when thousands of people descended on the venue, phones in hand and too overcome by FOMO not to get involved. They made themselves at home outside, covering the nearby road and requiring police assistance. Why, exactly? Maybe just for a glimpse at Swift, whose name they chanted very loudly. When people inside the restaurant closed the curtains, the crowd booed.

How it all became public knowledge is like piecing together a patchwork quilt. A week earlier, gossip Instagram account Deuxmoi shared a blind item that Swift would attend the wedding of her closest collaborator in an East Coast town, while Antonoff is very loud about his Jersey upbringing and is a regular visitor to the island. It might have just been a poorly kept secret or an obvious guess. But of course, when something unusual takes place in a small holiday destination, information spreads like wildfire.


And once a few people loiter, human nature is for more people to join too. What if they catch a glimpse a blonde head bopping down into a black vehicle, and you don't? In the moment, FOMO can be a powerful persuasive. Those who uploaded videos of the crowds online have been criticised by other Swift fans and the general public alike for a lack of boundaries, but in many cases, this has also meant a major increase in engagement, views and on a much more micro level, fame.

When Swift eventually left the venue, she looked surprised and politely smiled her way to a car. Personally, I probably would've flipped the bird. But that's why I'm not Taylor Swift. It's a response that makes sense alongside this quote from a 2015 radio interview: "There's a dream that, any time I'm paparazzied out, which is a lot, I have dreams that night that they're in my room taking pictures of me while I'm sleeping," she said. "So I'll find myself smiling in my sleep, because I think there are people in my room taking pictures of me. Not smiling because I'm happy, smiling because I think people are taking pictures of me."

Behind her, friends Kravitz and Tatum did what her face probably should do, or at least would like to: they looked perplexed and full of judgement.

As a single incident, this is surely enough proof that being famous is a bit sh*t when you're not actually at work (which means, in this case, performing in front of an adoring stadium). But it wasn't even a single incident.


Listen to The Spill, With Taylor Swift on her Eras Tour right now it’s not uncommon to see the singer surrounded by thousands of fans every night of the week. Post continues below.

On the same day as the now infamous New Jersey crowd swarm, a man who had taken a bus from Atlanta to New York to 'profess his love' to Swift, reportedly entered her apartment building.

Allegedly, he gained entry after ringing the doorbell until somebody opened, entered an elevator and was stopped from going further by a neighbour who was suspicious when the topic of Swift came up.

He was arrested for trespassing, but horrifyingly (for both Swift, who has had multiple stalker incidents, and the man, whose delusions surely point to a larger, complex mental health issue), the New York Post interviewed him and included quotes in their story about how he wants "to spend the rest of [his] life making [her] happy".

Rounding out a trilogy I'd like to call 'this level of fame is pretty f*cked, hey?!' was a so-called TikTok 'social experiment' in Los Angeles.

Ashley Leechin is a social media personality best known for leaning into life as a Swift lookalike. Somewhat infamous amongst Swiftie circles, she is a contentious figure who was accused of lying about being invited to the Grammys earlier this year.

On Saturday in Los Angeles, Leechin pretended to be Swift walking around a mall, flanked by hired security guards. Viral video shows Leechin escorted out of a shop, which was later revealed to be part of a TikTok prank. 


Swift has been famous since she was a teenager, so this might not be new to her. For a long time, her life has required concessions and planning that most of us wouldn't dream of. A teenage Lorde once copped a lot of flack for saying that hanging out with Swift was like having a friend with an autoimmune disease. It's not a delicate way to put it, but her point, that "there are certain places you can’t go together" and "certain things you can't do" makes sense.

Although, off the back of a prolific musical output in the past few years and the most hyped musical tour of a generation, it has undoubtedly reached a peak that even she — whose 2014-2016 publicity was until this point perhaps the last great 'pinnacle' of celebrity visibility — could not have foreseen.

Couple that with a fanbase who, especially in the early years of her career, were treated as if they really 'knew her', FOMO and our value of social media clout and you get, well, this. An overshadowed wedding and click farming via (alleged) stalkers.

It all paints a pretty grim picture of extreme fame in 2023, doesn't it? And yes, of course, Swift is one of the most privileged people in the world. Asking you to have sympathy for an almost-billionaire might be laughable. 

Maybe it's simply the price she must pay.

But, given the choice, I wouldn't.

Feature image: Getty.

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